Updated: Who was the boss?

4 03 2016

Readers will no doubt have seen that the “Criminal Court sentenced a suspect known as the ‘popcorn gunman’ to 37 years and four months imprisonment for attempted murder and carrying weapons in public during the political violence in February 2014.”

Wiwat Yodprasit was convicted of “shooting at red shirt protesters during a confrontation between the anti-establishment red shirts and People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), anti-election protesters, at Laksi intersection in Bangkok on 2 February 2014…”.

Shooter 10Wiwat was said to have “used a popcorn sack to conceal an M16 and shot at red-shirt demonstrators…”.

Prachatai states that:

Four people were seriously injured in the shooting, one of whom, Akaew Sae-Liew, a 72-year-old street vendor, who was allegedly shot by the suspect, died later in September 2014 after being paralysed for eight months.

It also says that there “are 21 other suspects on the case all of whom are still at large.” Wiwat stated that he was a People’s Democratic Reform Committee guard. The PDRC was commanded by Suthep Thaugsuban.

Wiwat will appeal and there was 3.7 million baht prepared for a bail request.

Our question is: who were his bosses? We guess some of Suthep’s people but we’d also guess some in the military. Wiwat might, eventually, do some time, but his bosses still have impunity.

Update: Readers might be interested in Nick Nostitz’s account of the case at New Mandala. He links to an early interview with the gunman and helpfully provides a translation. We do not know why Nostitz thinks this is an “outstanding interview.” Most of the interview is unconvincing about anything related to the case. Wiwat claims to have never been trained to use the gun (we are led to believe he is firing an automatic weapon for the first time), to have had it in the popcorn bag to carry it (rather than to collect spent cartridges) and to have not known his spotter. None of that makes much sense, and the interviewer does not ask any serious questions at all. That Wiwat was a stooge is clear, but not much else.


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9 03 2016
One of the bosses was Buddha Issara | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A few days ago we posted on the sentencing of the so-called popcorn gunman, which we updated to include recognition of the New Mandala post by Nick Nostitz on the same topic. At New Mandala is is quite common for a series of comments to appear that often degenerate into mudslinging. In this case, though, some quite reasonable points were made. Many of the questions asked there about the shooter remain unanswered, and that is probably how they will stay. […]

9 03 2016
One of the bosses was Buddha Issara | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] A few days ago we posted on the sentencing of the so-called popcorn gunman, which we updated to include recognition of the New Mandala post by Nick Nostitz on the same topic. At New Mandala is is quite common for a series of comments to appear that often degenerate into mudslinging. In this case, though, some quite reasonable points were made. Many of the questions asked there about the shooter remain unanswered, and that is probably how they will stay. […]